Oscar Futures: Is ‘W.’ a Lame Duck?

Every week between now and February 2, when the nominations are announced, movies and stars will help themselves — or, sometimes, hurt themselves — in the Oscar race. Vulture’s Oscar Futures will listen to insider gossip, comb the Oscar blogs, and out-and-out guess when necessary to track who’s up, who’s down, and who’s currently leading the race for a coveted nomination.

Best Picture UP: Milk. Early whispers indicate it could be as good as its trailer. DOWN: W. The first reviews confirm the worst — not only is it not the batshit-crazy lightning rod we were hoping for, it's not even a very good movie!
CURRENT PREDIX: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Director UP: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire. By all accounts, his movie is this year's Little Miss Sunshine. Can it score him his first-ever nomination? We think so! DOWN: Clint Eastwood, Changeling. The Academy loves the guy, but critics smell a stinker.
CURRENT PREDIX: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire; David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon; Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road; Gus Van Sant, Milk
Best Actor UP: Josh Brolin, W. Critics don't love the movie, but Brolin's "pitch-perfect," they say. DOWN: Benicio Del Toro, Che. His performance may be great, but it's in a four-hour movie now getting mixed reviews.
CURRENT PREDIX: Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road; Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon; Sean Penn, Milk; Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Best Actress UP: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married. It's a great role and a stellar performance that surprised practically everybody. DOWN: Angelina Jolie, Changeling. Her tabloid celebrity is widely assumed to have cost her a nomination last year, so nipple-showing magazine covers probably aren't helping her case this year.
CURRENT PREDIX: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married; Angelina Jolie, Changeling; Kristen Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long; Meryl Streep, Doubt; Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
Best Supporting Actor UP: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight. His nomination is a given, but can he win? He's still the front-runner! DOWN: Russell Crowe, Body of Lies. It's allegedly a great performance, but critics don't love the movie.
CURRENT PREDIX: Josh Brolin, Milk; Jamie Foxx, The Soloist; Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight; Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Road; Michael Sheen, Frost/Nixon
Best Supporting Actress UP: Debra Winger, Rachel Getting Married. She's thrice-nominated and returning to the screen after a three-year absence. Ecstatic reviews don't hurt either. DOWN: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler. Even her nude scenes can't take the media focus off Mickey Rourke.
CURRENT PREDIX: Kathy Bates, Revolutionary Road, Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona; Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler; Debra Winger, Rachel Getting Married
Oscar Futures: Is ‘W.’ a Lame Duck?